Free widespread symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 has now ended in Cumbria.

From today (31 March), free tests will only be available for people who develop symptoms and are at risk of serious illness from COVID-19 and are eligible for treatments, along with NHS and adult social care staff and those in other high-risk settings.

The decision to end most free testing was taken as part of central government’s “Living with COVID” strategy to live with and manage the virus – published back in February 2022.

Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, Colin Cox, said: “With widespread free testing no longer available, vaccines are our best defence against the virus. 

“The NHS is now offering spring boosters to the elderly, care home residents and the most vulnerable. The success of the vaccination programme is enabling the country to manage the virus like other respiratory infections. This includes public health guidance and encouraging responsible behaviour, while targeting testing to protect those most at risk and enable healthcare treatment to go ahead safely.

“Although restrictions have now been removed, and most testing reduced, the pandemic is not over. The public should continue to follow the updated public health guidance to protect themselves and others, particularly those who may become seriously ill if infected with COVID-19.

“While there is no longer a legal requirement to self-isolate, if you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or test positive, we strongly advise everybody to stay at home and avoid contact with others.”

Information on who can access free coronavirus (COVID-19) tests from 1 April 2022 and how to get them can be found on the government website. However, additional government guidance is expected to be released tomorrow (April 1 2022).

To find out how to get a 1st, 2nd or booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and how you will be contacted for your vaccinations, visit the NHS website.

In the week ending 25 March, there were 5,233 new cases in Cumbria, which is an increase of 295 or 6% compared to the previous week (4,938 new cases in the previous week). For the latest COVID-19 situation report, please visit cumbria.gov.uk/stopthespread.


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